GLENBURN TWP. — Members of the Glenburn Township Planning Commission conducted a public meeting May 25 to address the request of the Abington Little League, which is seeking the planning commission’s recommendation regarding an application for zoning approval for outdoor sports lights on two baseball fields located within the Ackerly Recreational Facility.
According to township solicitor Malcolm L. MacGregor, Atty. Frank Bolock, who is representing the Little League, forwarded correspondence to Glenburn Township in May.
“The role of the planning commission in Glenburn Township has historically been to listen to people and, if an advisory opinion is warranted that can help one way or another, give it. If it’s not, the matter will go on to the zoning hearing board.”
The planning commission has 30 days from the date of the meeting to offer a recommendation on the matter. The zoning hearing board is scheduled to hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. July 10 at the township building, 54 Waterford Rd., Dalton.
According to Abington Little League President Ryan Mitvalsky, the organization has been able to complete several improvements to the facility with the assistance and approval of the township during the last eight years.
“Since I took over as president in 2014, with the zoning officer’s approval, we put up three batting cages,” he said. “In the beginning of 2015, we paved a dirt and gravel area around the concession stand with the approval of the zoning department and supervisors. The same year, we installed a playground with the approval of the zoning department and township supervisors.
“One of the biggest (improvements) is a $48,000 entryway we paved with help from zoning officer Tom (Wicks) through PennDOT.”
Mitvalsky would like to light one of the four Little League fields, utilized by children 12 years old and younger and the senior field, used by individuals ages 13-17 as well at the Abington Heights School District and Clarks Summit University.
“We have a need to light the senior field,” he said. “We currently have 11 teams scheduled for use of one field.”
According to Mitvalsky, the biggest advantage of adding lights to the two fields would be the ability to accommodate more players. He added the number of registered participants has increased from approximately 750 in 2014 to nearly 900 in 2016.
“I won’t have to turn anybody away,” he said. “We’re getting to the point now that I literally cringe when I see our registration system starting to fill up. The last week of March, we grit our teeth because it’s going to come to a point where kids are going to have to be told we’re full.”
Another issue that arose last year was a shortened fall ball schedule due to cancellations from other teams. Per Mitvalsky, Abington is the only team, in Lackawanna County, in the Mid Valley League, that does not have lights.
“When we went into that league, we found that, once the days get shorter, teams refuse to come play us and games were cancelled,” he said. “It was supposed to be a 16 or 17 game schedule and some teams got six games in. We had issues with rebates and it just wasn’t good for the kids, and that’s who we do it for.”
Bob Zoeller, a technical consultant from Musco Sports Lighting, LLC., informed the planning commission and concerned residents the lights would have a minimal effect outside of the sports facility.
“We’re able to meet the (township) ordinance requirements for maximum shielding of light and shielding of glare with both fields illuminated,” he said.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.